Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

February 14, 2014

What's next?


A lot of people are blogging today about what Valentines used to be for them, and what it is since they fell in love with someone who has a CHD. I have done that in the past, feel free to stroll through the last few years of Valentines posts. This year though I would like to skip the tradition and talk about what we are doing this year to make a difference in the years to come. I would like this post to be interactive. I would like to hear from you. You can email or use the comment section.

This year I have taken the very broad topic of CHD and I have narrowed it down to two charities. CCHA (Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance) and the Cardiac Kids (in support of the Sick Kids foundation). I have taken some hits on both fronts for choosing these two charities to work with; at one point nearly causing me to bow out completely and just do my own thing.

Truth: There is a desperate need for support within adult CHD community. Money is so tight that coming up with funds for postage is tough, forget research, events, advertising and marketing. You can't raise money if you haven't got any to start with. This is a problem. If you have money, and you don't know who to support then this is a great (and very needy) foundation.

Truth: Cardiac Kids is a Sick Kids foundation. They have more money than the CCHA. However, that money the Cardiac Kids raises... it goes straight to the Labatt Heart Center, and to the kids who spend more time at Sick Kids than they do just being kids.

Truth: 1 in 100 kids are born with a CHD. By the time I get ready to go for my Valentines day date, 16 kids will have been born with CHD in Canada.

Truth: There are more adults living with CHD than kids. Survival rates are increasing and there just isn't funding or facilities or specialists to help the more than 80,000 adults in Canada who are living with a CHD.

These are just a few reasons that I have finally narrowed my field of vision to these two organizations. The biggest reason? That would be Josh.

One day Josh will turn 18 (God willing) and when he does I want to make sure that I have done absolutely everything in my power to ensure he enters a system that is ready for him. He will need the CCHA to be in a place that they can help him, he will need the plans they are putting in place to help adults get the care and education that they need.

Today, Josh is a kid, an awesome, brave, amazing, happy little boy who has CHD and Cardiac Kids has made him FEEL like a kid. They have made him FEEL special, loved and happy. They found out last April that Josh was having a hard time, so they sent him to meet David Clarkson at the Leafs game (He was a Devil back then). Countless times they have done special things for him (any us, by association).

So. What am I doing this year to make a difference in the years to come?

I am choosing to support two similar but clearly very different foundations. I am helping with the marketing and advertising of the CCHA. I am helping the kids at Kaleb's school to raise funds and awareness for kids like Josh. It's busy this February... (the state of my house reflects this busyness)... I can't choose just one organization, they both mean too much to Josh both now, and in the future.

The interactive part?

I would love to hear ideas... things we can do to help BOTH of these great charities. I would love to know what you are doing in your community. Who do you support? Why?

I would love hear from anyone willing to take up this cause with me. I would LOVE to hear if you have supported either of these charities.

I would like to start a walk, somewhere here in downtown Toronto to raise money for the CCHA... but I can't do it alone. If you are willing, and know how to help. Contact me. If you are willing to host a bake sale, art sale, lemonade stand... anything... contact me.

This year, I am asking for your time, your energy, and yes. EVEN YOUR MONEY. Let's do this thing! Go big or go home right?!

Happy Heart Day everyone.